One of my favorite ways to educate my listeners and clients is sharing the questions I commonly receive in hopes that they help you out too. In most cases, someone somewhere else, with a similar position at a similar company (and probably around a similar age) has the same question. Recently I received this question from Dennis and I felt compelled to share it here.
"Erin - I work and plan on retiring April, the question I have is regarding health insurance. I will be 56 June, my wife is a school teacher and plans on working several more years, she currently pays nothing for insurance but if she would cover me next year it would either be $338 per pay for (Plan with HRA) or $285 (plan with no reimbursement), dental and vision are at additional cost at about $15 per pay - her plans are thru BlueCross- so my question is are there plans available that would be cheaper for just me? If so she could continue to receive her free school teacher insurance.
I’m very healthy and have no pre-existing health issues. Can you offer some good private insurers? "
My suggestion was for Dennis to jump onto his wife’s plan. The alternative options are significantly more expensive, have less benefits to offer with smaller networks. His wife’s contribution to his health insurance will be pre-tax. Everything individual, including COBRA is after tax, so Dennis could potentially save approximately 15%-35% depending upon his tax bracket there alone.
There are only two choices in Missouri, Cigna and Ambetter – they are very expensive for very little benefit. Dennis is lucky to have alternative options, without having seeing the plan design for his wife’s plan and his COBRA, my suggestion, based on the information Dennis provided, would be to consider taking his wife’s coverage until she retires and then Dennis will have the ability to take COBRA from that plan if he is not Medicare eligible then. Or, if the individual market is improved over the next several years, Dennis can always leave her plan and jump onto an individual plan of his own.
I hope you found this helpful for any Medicare or health insurance related issue you are going through. It is important however that you consult with your own professional advisor to assist in your specifc situation.